The starting point of the project is that texts, policies or human rights concepts are not simply imported or transferred from one place to the other, but rather become the object of critical debate and contribute to learning processes at the local level. Attention to the politics of translation reveals a much more complex picture in which meanings are interpreted, contested and transformed.

Translation studies has devoted considerable attention to the significance of different translation strategies in relation to existing socio-cultural inequalities. However, it has failed to substantially engage in wider social science debates on the role of translation in the diffusion and transformation of policy, social movements and human rights. This project seeks to develop a new conceptual formulation of the politics of translation that can also be applied to these different research domains. 

During the first phase of the project, current approaches to the politics of translation within the discipline of translation studies are critically examined with the view to proposing an alternative conception that is explicitly designed to further interdisciplinary approaches in the social sciences.

In a second phase, the political nature of translation and its intervention in two different research domains is empirically investigated:

  • The politics of language and translation in research and publishing in the context of the dominance of English as academic lingua franca. Specific attention will be paid to translation practices and their agents in the semi-periphery, particularly Spain.
  • The reception of migrant literature in translation as a process that defies current binary categories, as well as still pervasive forms of methodological nationalism.

It is expected that the new theoretical and methodological framework proposed will contribute to further interdisciplinary perspectives on political translation in its various forms and make visible translation’s transformative role in different social contexts and research domains.


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